It’s summer and the weather is spectacular.
We want our kids to get active, go out and play, and enjoy this time. Instead, there they are on their screens with their thumbs and maybe their fingers getting all the exercise.
We already know that physical exercise leads to better heart health, reduces the chances of childhood obesity and decreases the risk of developing diabetes.
The Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth released by the non-profit organization ParticipAction indicates that only 35 per cent of five to 17 year olds and 62 per cent of children ages three and four are getting the recommended physical activity.
Along with what we know about the benefits to health outcomes, a growing body of research is showing that there are also significant mental benefits to exercise. We have been focused on obesity and physical health benefits and that’s a positive approach, but this new research shows us an increase in brain health. Physical activity improves brain function, cognition and mental health.
We are seeing an increase in anxiety and depression among our youth. I imagine there are a myriad of reasons, and recognition of the problem is certainly one of them. But lack of activity and the amount of time spent on screens has to factor into the equation.
Children who are active are more creative, better problem-solvers, and less likely to suffer from mental health problems.
“From increased cognitive skills to improved mental health, physical…